Demand for suburb living, short-term leases grow amid pandemic

Nashville 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The pandemic as we know it, has changed the way we work, play and live.

It’s also drastically shifted where people want to live.

“People are moving here because they can get jobs, the tax base is better and we’re more open,” said Maria Holland, a realtor with RE/MAX Homes and Estates, Lipman Group.

Tennesseans now more than ever, are open to change.

Tiny and trendy spaces in the metro were once in high-demand, but realtors have recently noticed more people are looking to move to the suburbs in an effort to find more space.

“I definitely see a core movement from the downtown area,” Holland said. “People are really needing green space, they need a back yard, somewhere where they can go where they don’t have to have a mask they can get outside and feel safe.”

Holland says the biggest shift she’s seen in the rental real real estate market is the shift from the metro to the suburbs.

In addition, people are looking for shorter leases.

New data from Apartment List shows of those looking to move to Nashville from elsewhere, 16.1-percent are searching for a short-term lease, while 16.5-percent of renters looking to move away from Nashville want a short-term lease.

Compared to this time last year, that’s a 30-percent increase in the share of renters searching for leases of six months or less.

“I specially have had a lot of native Californians…they’re getting their feet wet and a little afraid,” Holland said. “They’re moving here and they’re like ‘oh, I think this is what I want to to but I’m not sure so I wanna get my feet wet.'”

Holland says renters want to make sure they’re in area they really like before they commit fullt-time.

Igor Popov, Chief Economist at Apartment List said the trend is likely a manifestation of the uncertainty that renters are feeling amidst questions about recovery and remote work.

“The uptick in interest for short-term leases is driven by renters looking to leave expensive coastal metros, as well as those looking to move to mid-sized metros in scenic locales,” Popov wrote.

Other key insights from the report include:

  • 41.0-percent of those looking for a place to live in Nashville are searching from outside the metro, compared to 40.4-percent at this time last year. The most common source of renters looking to move to Nashville from elsewhere is New York, NY.
  • 21.8-percent of apartment hunters currently living in Nashville are looking to move elsewhere, compared to 20.5-percent last year. Knoxville, TN is the most popular destination among these renters.

In addition, across the country rent prices are converging. Large, expensive markets are getting cheaper while smaller, traditionally-affordable cities are getting more expensive.

Apartment List says the median rent in Nashville has fallen by 4.1% since the start of the pandemic in March, and is now down 3.7% year-over-year.

That same data shows among the 100 largest cities in the country, Nashville ranks #24 for the fastest falling rents.

Nashville’s median two-bedroom rent of $1,202 is above the national average of $1,095. Nationwide, rents have fallen by 1.3-percent over the past year compared to the 3.7-percent decline in Nashville, according to Apartment List.

News 2 is reporting on Nashville’s historic growth and the growing pains that come with it. Click here for more Nashville 2020 reports.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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